LOCKDOWN : SHADRACH, MESHACH & ABEDNEGO
FAITH IN THE FURNACE : NO COMPROMISE
This is one of my favourite historical, Biblical stories from my Sunday School days.
The Book of Daniel is an amazing story of the Second Exodus of the people of Israel, not from Egypt but from Babylon. The King of Persia is now in control of Babylonia. The Hebrew people are in exile, not from Egypt but Babylon. The King of Babylon is now in control of Babylonia. The Hebrew people are in exile again and King Nebuchadnezzar is trying to establish a noble Kingdom. He asks his eunuchs to appoint to his court four young leaders, from among the Jewish community, with great calibre and potential. They chose Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
Hananiah means “Jehovah is Favoured!”
Mishael means “Who is Like God!”
Azariah means “Helped by God!”
They were renamed after Babylonian gods. Hananiah became Shadrach. Mishael became Meshach. Azariah became Abednego.
After Daniel had interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2:49) “At Daniel’s request the King appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego Administrators over the Province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the Royal Court.”
Read: Daniel 3:1-30
King Nebuchadnezzar had made an image, an idol, made of gold 90 feet (27 metres) high! 9 feet (2.7 metres) wide! Setting it up on the Plain of Dura, in the Province of Babylon. He summons everyone deemed important to the Dedication. The Herald makes it clear that anyone who defies the call to worship it, when the music begins to play, will be thrown into a burning furnace (v4-6)
THE BATTLE LINE IS DRAWN!!!
Satan has always sought to kill, steal and destroy. To destroy the Jews. He has used various people throughout history to seek to achieve this. In the days of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego it was the astrologers. Envious of the three Hebrews influence in the court they spotted an opportunity to get rid of them. They went to the King and reported that they were not bowing their knees to the image, and, therefore were not coming under the authority of the King.
There are times when, as Jesus said, “We render to Caesar what is Caesars.” We pay our taxes. Keep the Law of the land. However, there are times when we STAND FOR GOD!
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had grown up learning and living in the Truth of Torah.
“You shall have no other gods before ME!” (Exodus 20:3)
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on earth below.” (Exodus 20:4)
“You shall not bow down to them or worship them. For I The Lord your God, Am a Jealous God!” (Exodus 20:5)
Nebuchadnezzar had possibly been outwitted by the astrologers. There could be “NO BLUFF!” Nor could there be “NO LAST CHANCE!” For Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego. (v13-15)
On their part, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, would not bluff either. For them they would not dishonour God. “Those who honour Me, I will honour.” (1 Samuel 2:30)
FAITH IN THE FURNACE : NO COMPROMISE
- STANDING FOR GOD : GOD FEARING! (v16)
“The Fear of The Lord is the beginning of all knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:7)
- STANDING BEFORE GOD : GOD FIRST! (v17)
Our life is in His Hands….In Lockdown we don’t know what God will do – neither did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego…There are many thousands of Martyrs who die for their faith every week, who put God first. Our life is hid with Christ. In Christ alone our Hope is found!
- STANDING IN GOD : FOREVER! (v18)
The furnace was heated up 7 times the normal heat. The strongest soldiers bound Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and threw them into the blazing fire. (v19-23)
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IS MIRACULOUS!
- A MIRACLE OF DIVINE PROPORTIONS (v24)
- A MIRACLE OF DIVINE PRESENCE (v25)
- A MIRACLE OF DIVINE PRESERVATION (v26)
- A MIRACLE OF DIVINE PURPOSE (v27-30)
For us in Lockdown we may find ourselves in an experience of Furnace – mentally, spiritually or emotionally. Isaiah, one of the Major Prophets, wrote this promise from God, “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2b)
When a furnace is heated, for the purification of gold, the dross rises to the surface and is removed. The furnace reheated and the process repeated. After 7 times the result is “pure gold.” Job knew this fact (Job 23:10) “He knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
For Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who could have decided to put their career and position first, and not made their Stand for God, they were rewarded subsequent to the Divine Purpose being fulfilled. (v30) “Then the King promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Province of Babylon.” They continued to serve The Living God. Their God!